Sunday, December 21, 2008

Apartment Life

Last night we extended our lease by another six months. Ryan just isn't sure that his current job is one that he wants to stay with long-term. So, we'll wait until this summer to see if something else comes up. It is very hard for me to be patient especially with low home prices and interest rates as well as a down payment waiting in the bank! So, I've decided to come up with a top ten list of reasons that apartment living is good.

10. Very little liability in terms of costly repairs to a home- If the littlest thing goes wrong in the apartment like a slow drain or even if I just want new drip trays for the stove, I just call maintenance, and they come right over.
9. We get to experience just how much my parents love us by letting them store a whole lot of our stuff for another half of a year.
8. Very low utility bills- our portion of the trash just increased to $4.25!
7. We get to say that we are debt free!
6. Our apartment is right by several square miles of upscale neighborhoods. We enjoy walking and running in this area.
5. Very convenient location for shopping, restaurants, our church, etc.
4. Two of my close friends (and their offspring, Molly's friends) live right here within a 90 second walk! It makes for convenient babysitting swaps.
3. Free use of workout equipment in the fitness center.
2. Good possibility of convincing my husband that I need a new bistro set to put outside our door to help me endure the next six months here.
1. Much smaller area to clean!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I almost saw this today! Story at the bottom of this post.

We are enjoying a sunny day with temperatures in the 60s. It's funny how accustomed to the warm weather we have become. We think it is a very cold when the temps dip into the 30s.

Molly has been busy learning new words. It is amazing how overnight her vocabulary grew. The following are words that she tries to say or says successfully:

mama dada duck walk milk hot papa nana no ball baby cheese shoes book

I'm learning that 15 month olds are so funny. I was letting Molly sit on my lap in the front seat of the car and snack on some animal crackers in the mall parking lot. For some reason, she started to say, "Hot!" (This is her favorite word by the way. She often uses it correctly, like when I'm holding a cup of coffee or pull something out of the microwave. However, sometimes she just says it randomly.) Midword, she let out a burp. I started laughing, and she started laughing and let out a longer burp. That made us both laugh harder. It is so fun to have a shared giggle.

We have a baby gate up near the entrance to our kitchen. Molly plays near the gate while I cook or load the dishwasher. Today, I knew she was standing there just a few feet from me doing something but I wasn't paying close attention. When I looked at her I noticed that she had taken her pants off! I'm hoping this doesn't become common or involve the removal of her diaper!

The big news around Fort Worth is the landing here of the space shuttle as it is being transported from California back to Florida. Because of weather conditions in Florida, it had to make a pit stop here. I was heading out to meet a friend this morning. As I drove near the Air Force base where the shuttle spent the night, I saw at least a hundred cars pulled over on the freeway and service drive. I concluded that the shuttle was going to be taking off soon. I had to meet my friend and couldn't stop. I think I missed seeing the shuttle atop a 747 by just a few minutes. By the way, the trip back to FL costs two million dollars.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Carolina Pines

We had fun visiting Ryan's dad and stepmom last weekend. Molly loved running around their house and playing with KK and May May. Grandpa KK especially delighted in Molly's eating. She shares his taste in food. Eating out at an Italian restaurant, we ordered a Caprese Salad (fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil) for Molly. This is also one of her grandpa's favorites. She also enjoyed eating his eggplant parmasean.

The community where my inlaws live is beautiful. Part of it is built on a mountain and other parts of it are by lakes. There is a golf course throughout. When Molly was napping, I would make myself a cup of tea and sit in their backyard. They have tall Carolina pines right behind their house. One evening it was completely still. For several minutes I heard no sounds. There was not even one leaf or pine needle stirring. I just sat in silence and praised God for the beauty around me.

Friday, November 21, 2008


We are going to NC tomorrow to see Ryan's dad for a long weekend. Ryan gets next week off for Thanksgiving. We'll have a lot of time to spend together as a family. I'm going to be working a little bit at the GAP again for the holidays. Cross Country ended a couple weeks ago. Ryan was busy getting ready for his banquet last Monday. Then he and I came down with the stomach flu and didn't get to enjoy the banquet. We just stopped in so he could give out awards. It was at a Mexican restaurant that we hadn't tried yet. Thankfully Molly hasn't been sick.

As you can see by the pictures, some days it is sweater and hoodie weather, and other times it's warm enough for just a dress. My dad made Molly this awesome pebble box. She loves it!

We got some awesome garage sale deals. This slide was $5, and the basketball hoop was 50 cents! I love it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out and About

I took Molly to a play area at a mall. It was so nice because there were only a few other kids and a couple of them were babies close to Molly's age. She had a great time. She was RUNNING around and shrieking. Consequently, I was trotting around after her. She was busy trying to climb all over the play structures. She hasn't tried much to climb on furniture, but she likes to lift a leg up and over the side of the bathtub when she's getting in and out. When I get her out of her crib, she lifts up her leg to try to get over it. There's no way she can, though, because the crib rail is right at her chin.

We then stopped to see my grandma at a nursing care center. It is very difficult, because the floor isn't appropriate for her to sit on or play on. So I have to either carry her or try to keep her from sitting down or touching the floor. She is impatient in her stroller, so that doesn't work for very long either. She also won't just sit on my lap or my grandma's. My grandma did enjoy giving her a sweet hug and kiss when we ended our brief visit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Voting here in TX was somewhat smooth. There were no lines at the polls at 7 am when Ryan was there or at 1:30 pm when Molly and I were there. We had no option but to vote with pen and paper ballots. After they were complete, we were to take them over to a scanning machine that takes the ballot, reads it and displays a flag graphic if it worked correctly. Apparently when Ryan voted this morning, it wasn't working. So, the voters had to leave their ballots on a pile on a chair and trust that the election officials got the machine fixed and scanned their ballots. Not the best system... This afternoon it was working, but only on the second try. So, a poll worker was right next to me, and he politely instructed me to enter it into the machine again. He demonstrated the angle at which I was to hold the ballot. It was very easy to see who I voted for because I colored in a dark rectangle next to each. Again, not the best system. He remained standing by the machine and helped the next voter with the same problem.

This was Molly's third time to the polls; she accompanied us to a school board election and the primary in the spring.
These are my freebies that I got for voting. Conveniently Krispy Kreme and Starbucks are directly adjacent to each other.

The fall colors in Texas are much more muted than those in the midwest. We don't have the vivid red, orange, and yellow leaves and bright green grass that paint the landscape in Michigan.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Recently I read an article in Compassion International's recent magazine about the global food crisis. (You can go to their website to learn more by clicking HERE. By the way, compare the estimated cost of solving this food crisis shown on the website with the cost of our government's STUPID bailout.) Especially as a mom, I'm saddened deeply by the stories of children going without food. Even children who are sponsored through their program are receiving less assistance this year because the cost of food has risen. Quite often I feel helpless, but I need to feel empowered and pray and give more. We are abundantly rich and have tremendous ability to impact the hurting in this world.

This week, I had planned to do my grocery shopping at Albertsons. I noticed an ad in the paper for two pounds of strawberries for $2.99 at Kroger. I decided to make a quick trip there before finishing my shopping back at Albertsons. How blessed am I, not only to have a car, but to have many options for purchasing affordable, fresh, abundant food.

This morning I fed Molly a breakfast of strawberries and oatmeal. She is a voracious eater and will often show me the sign for "More" when her tray is empty. Twice I had to wash more strawberries and bring them to her. At one point, I bit into a strawberry and was delighted by its sweetness. "What a treat," I thought. My mind went to the hungry in Ethiopia. This strawberry, which cost me a few cents, would be ecstasy to a famished child. Let me often thank God for our innumerable blessings and do my part to diminish suffering around the world. Grateful, I gave my baby girl more berries, and thanked God that I always have plenty to give her when she asks for "More".

Friday, October 31, 2008


Molly was an MSU cheerleader for Halloween. Her Grandpa KK sent her this dress for her birthday. I was only able to find one pom pom! I looked at several stores, and the ones I did find were not green or white! We had lunch with Amanda and Xander at Buffalo Wild Wings, had a visit from Nana and Papa, and then walked to Trunk or Treat at a church close by. Molly got some treats: a bag of teddy grahams, a bag of pretzels, and a toy duck. I appreciate the healthy snacks because she's too little for candy. She was pretty excited to eat pieces of my hotdog and enjoy a juicebox, too. She also enjoyed one of Nana's frosted pumpkin cookies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Molly's Artwork

Ok, so it's not the best idea to let a 13 month old have full use of 24 crayons at once, but she did pretty well. Molly did this picture all by herself. She just sat on my lap, and I held the paper still. It is so fun because there are so many things to do with her during the day. Maybe we'll try edible fingerpaints soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boyfriend, Girlfriend and Silly Shots

Molly has another boyfriend! On sweetest day, Saturday, Molly got flowers from Isaac, 2 months old, in Ohio. The card reads "Molly, I think you are sweet. Happy Sweetest Day!"

This is a new friend of Molly's named Julia. She lives a couple of apartments down and is a month younger than Molly.

I forgot to write on the post entitled "VA" that Molly had three more molars partially push their way through on our trip. She's been unhappy as she deals with the pain. When we returned from our trip, Ryan had a bouquet of tulips for me, a clean apartment, and take out BBQ for my parents and me for dinner. What a super husband!


I see that Gabby made a comment on "Emily's Rant". I'm curious about any other opinions that are out there. I know there many readers out there because you tell me that you check this blog. It would be fun to start a discussion here...

I'm still struggling about my vote for president. I'm definitely an independent when it comes to the issues. Here's where I stand:

The War I definitely don't know enough about what is going on there to have an opinion. I have to put my faith in our military leaders that they are being truthful and doing what is best for our troops and the Iraqi people.

Gun Ownership I support our right to bear arms, and I also support a waiting period and background checks to ensure that only responsible people can purchase them.

Abortion Unquestionably pro-life

Education No politician ever puts the blame where I believe it lies for a vast majority of failing students: the parents. There are exceptions, of course, but I believe that most schools and most teachers are doing a good job. In Texas, most of the failing schools are filled with many immigrant students, some illegal. While many of these children are good students many are not, and teachers are expected to work miracles in the short amount of time these students have been in country. How are they supposed to learn about the Revolutionary War when they've never even heard of Massachusetts or Delaware?

I heard that Obama would like a national pre-school program. This may help some students, but it will be expensive and will not fix the root problem. Some students will still come to preschool unprepared to learn and from homes where education isn't valued. Many students fail because they are truant. If parents can't get their kids to school every day when the child is in first grade, how will that be different when the child is in preschool?

Taxes I don't care about tax cuts as much as a balanced budget. If the next president could minimize spending and reduce the deficit, I don't need a tax cut. I also don't think wealthy INDIVIDUALS should be taxed further, but I think that too many big businesses like oil companies get too many tax breaks.

Healthcare and the Economy I believe government is too big and inefficient. These things should be left up to the private sector with little government involvement. Read: No bailouts or economic stimulus plans. No national healthcare coverage. I do like McCain's proposal of a tax credit. I like the concept behind HSAs, too. We have a large deductible on our insurance as well as $430 monthly premiums. We have to budget for this expense out of Ryan's teaching salary. Because of the large deductible ($1100 per person), we don't visit the doctor for unnecessary reasons, and we shop around for the best deals. Because it costs us to visit the doctor, we want to take the initiative to stay healthy.

The Environment I think we should support renewable sources of energy like wind energy. We use Green Mountain energy which is 100% renewable. I'm not sure about domestic drilling.

I do think that we should minimize pork barrel spending. All of the candidates talk about it, but they seem hypocrital to me.

What do you think???


My parents took Molly and I on a trip to Virginia last week. We stayed at a resort in the woods. It was beautiful. Traveling with the grandparents is ideal with a 13 month old! My brother the pilot advised us that babies are much safer on the plane when they have their own seats. However, you are not required to buy a seat for children under two. He also suggested that we carry the car seat to the gate in case there is an open seat. On both flights we were able to get a free seat for Molly. She slept well in her car seat both times. It was such a blessing! She managed to lull herself to sleep after putting Bunny over her face!

We spent a lot of time at several playgrounds. Molly is no longer very interested in swings, but she enjoys slides- the higher and faster the better. She sits on my lap to go down big slides, but on small slides she either holds our hands as we stand next to the slide or someone just catches her at the bottom. Like usual, she was most interested in the mulch beneath the playground equipment. The resort had free pony rides. Molly wasn't very interested in being atop a pony. She lasted only a minute or so!

We stayed in a cabin in the woods. Day and night the sounds of falling acorns and leaves could be heard as well as frolicking squirrels. We experienced the beauty of God's creation right from our deck.

We went around the lake on a pontoon boat. Molly liked to help drive, but she kept reaching for the keys in the ignition. Thankfully the panic horn was beyond her reach. Don't miss the picture of my mom entertaining Molly with the life vest!

Molly has started using crayons! We picked her up from the kids room at church last week, and they gave us a picture she had scribbled on. This is her coloring on a restaurant placemat.
We had pool weather in VA. It felt like TX- high 80s in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Morning at the Park

Molly is officially running! It is not a surprise; she must take after her daddy. Kit Kat likes to be chased, and Molly doesn't mind doing the chasing. However, she wishes that he would chase her. She has a difficult time understanding that he doesn't respond to her like mommy and daddy. We know what she wants, but Kit Kat doesn't!

We spent about an hour at the park this morning. She loved it. The playground is near a trail with a lot of cyclists, joggers, and walkers. Every time a person went by walking a dog, she stood up and walked toward the dog, even if it was 100 feet away. She would keep walking down the sidewalk even after the dog and its owner had disappeared out of sight!

A pair of small children at the park with their Polish aunt and uncle brought their beach toys to the park. They offered to let Molly play with them, too. The kids had a lot of fun playing with the pebbles that serve as the surface in the play area. In fact, every time we go to a park Molly is far more interested in the mulch or pebbles than the slides and swings. She is pretty good about not putting them in her mouth, but if she finds a pebble that she really likes she will kiss it!

She has been saying ma ma and da da for a week or so. She really said "Da da" a lot when Ryan was home with us last weekend. Those are her first words that she uses meaningfully. She also makes a "K" sound when she sees Kit Kat. She's had her own version of "hi" for awhile, that sounds nothing like "hi", but she says it consistently when playing with her phone!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Emily's Rant

I'm looking for a presidential candidate to support. I'm not going to vote for either of the big dogs. Initially, I was upset that they RUSHED into throwing together this bailout plan. Then, I heard Obama speaking on the radio, "The 401(k)s and retirement accounts that millions count on for their family's future are now smaller. The state pension funds of teachers and government employees lost billions upon billions of dollars. Hardworking Americans who invested their nest egg to watch it grow are now watching it disappear." I believe that the biggest part of the problem was that the media and politicians acted like it was an emergency and tragedy that needed to be fixed immediately. Of all people, Obama, the one who's words give hope to so many should not have made such a drama-filled statement that would lead to despair.

Then there is McCain. The "Maverick" who takes on special interests and pork-barrel spending would be the last one who should have voted for the pumped-up bailout plan with all of its added sweeteners. I'm frustrated by his hypocrisy. So, I'm open for suggestions. Any good candidates out there?

I've decided to not vote for any of the incumbents for the Texas Senate seats and the local rep for the US Congress because they have supported the bailout. None of the challengers really have a chance, but I kind of like rooting for the underdog anyway.

On a side note, did you hear that scientists have recently discovered a heavier element than those previously known? It is called governmentium. Read on:

Govermentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
(taken from Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I realized I hadn't posted pictures in awhile. Some of these are from Molly's birthday a few weeks ago.

Xander helping Molly with her present.

Pretty girl in green.

Messy face from her birthday oreos. This particular one had white chocolate coating it. She recently ate one with milk chocolate. It looked like she had a brown mustache and goatee! I'll post one of those soon!

Getting political with daddy. I'm not really caring a lot right now about the presidential race. I'm angry with both of them (McCain & Obama) for supporting the bailout proposal. But, back to the baby pictures...

With her second cousins!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That's What Brothers Are For

Molly received several new books for her birthday. I'll give you one guess... which one is from my brother, Molly's Uncle Tim?

Yep, that's right... Walter, the Farting Dog. Somehow I missed it when this book hit the bestseller list. I especially enjoy the nicely illustrated clouds of flatulence on nearly every page. Do I want Molly using the word "fart"? Guess that's what Uncle Tim had in mind!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Molly's World

Since Molly turned one last week, she's really taken off with her sign language skills. I have been doing some signs rather inconsistently for a few months. The last couple of days she has mastered the most important ones, "Eat", "More", and "All Done". For "All Done" she waves good-bye. The sign is somewhat similar to that, and I guess that "All Done" and "good-bye" are somewhat alike in their meanings. It is really helpful for me to know when Molly's hungry. When she's getting fidgety in her high chair, I ask her if she wants more or if she's all done. She usually answers with a sign. Often I'll only ask a question verbally, and she'll reply with a sign.

After her meals, I'm trying to clean her up in her high chair and give her her toothbrush while she sits there. It is too dangerous for her to walk around with it in her mouth, but she likes to chew on the bristles. I just put a little toothpaste on it for her to "brush" her teeth. It gives me a chance to clean up a little while she's still strapped in.

Our church just started an 8:30 am service that we've been attending. The nursery has about 5-8 kids of all different ages. There aren't enough kids yet to have a class that is uniquely babies. Molly has been the only one less than two or so. When we were dropping her off this morning we heard some excited little voices, "Molly's here!" It is so fun to know that the older kids like having her there and that she's got a little place to belong!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fisher Price House Party

I was selected to host a Fisher Price Play Date from This website organizes parties sponsored by brand name products. They send you a FREE party package, and all you have to do is invite your friends and make some snacks. It is not about selling anything, just creating a buzz about new products. The party package I received was over the top. They sent four big new toys for kids to check out. Each child that came got to take home a goody bag that had a small toy in it. I gave away one of the big toys as a door prize. I'm going to keep two for Molly, maybe I'll put one away until Christmas. I might ebay the fourth! It is incredulous to me that we get such nice toys for free without having to sell anything. I guess the marketing strategy works for them. Thank you Fisher-Price! Here are some pictures of the fun:

Happy Birthday Girl

Molly turned one yesterday. I've heard that a lot of moms feel sad about this milestone. She is definitely a toddler now, but she is more of a baby than ever. I'm not sad, just loving every minute of being a mom.

She really, really likes attention from Ryan and me. She loves it when I rock her for a few minutes before bed. Previously, she would squirm and not want to merely be held. As she's getting older and more aware of her surroundings, she is showing more love to others. She'll kiss my arms quite often. Today she just started sucking gently on my finger after she pulled my hand to her mouth. We were relaxing on the floor after dinner, and Ryan was lying on his back. I laid down next to him on my side and started patting his chest. Pat, pat, pat, pat. Pat, pat, pat, pat. Molly looked at us for a second, came over on the other side of him and started doing the same thing! We cracked up; it was so cute!

I enjoy my time with Molly every day. Occasionally, people will ask me if I can stand being at home every day. I love it. Molly is so happy, and she keeps me entertained. I don't feel like she's growing up too fast because I get to be here for all of it. Time doesn't fly like it would if I were really busy. Time doesn't drag either, because I genuinely enjoy it. I used to think that my favorite stage of childrearing were the newborn months. I asked my assistant principal a few years ago what her favorite age was when she was raising her children. When she told me that she enjoyed all of them, I was reluctant to believe her. Now, I'm realizing that as a parent there is a healthy fascination for your children at every stage. I have also heard that once they start talking, many parents wish they could go back. I might update my thoughts then.

Babies are always changing their eating, sleeping, and playing habits. At her age, Molly is doing several different things every day. My nature is that of an analyzer, and so I enjoy studying and wondering about her habits. Is she down to one long nap a day or are two better? She used to swallow the tiny pieces of diced food whole, now she's mashing them up in her mouth better. Is that why her mouth gets so full of food? Does that sound mean she wants a drink of water or she's done eating?

Happy Birthday Molly! Mommy loves you! I'm so thankful for a wonderful year, and I pray that the next one is just as much fun.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Go State!

Molly is an MSU fan already! She got a package with Michigan State things from her Grandpa KK this week.

She also got this fun tin of white chocolate covered oreos. We'll let her try one on Monday. It's going to take Molly a long time to finish all of these!
Molly loves to check out new things. She just entertained herself for several minutes with an empty Cheez-it box. When she knows she has something she isn't supposed to have, she takes off with it and walks really fast to her room and hides behind her pink chair! She loves to try to lift and carry really heavy things like pillows that are bigger than her. One of her favorite games is being chased by mommy or daddy around the dining room table or pink chair in her room. I've already gotten a few laps of crawling around the chair on four different occasions this morning!
Molly is an expert sleeper. She's down to one nap a day, I think. She woke up yesterday at 8:45, slept from 12:30-3:15 in the afternoon and slept last night from 6:30 until I went in to check on her at 9:35 this morning! For her nap yesterday, she even fell asleep willingly in her crib while there were still about 6 guests still here from her playdate! So, she's been very happy this morning after all of that sleep.